Monday, 28 December 2015

Barney Beats Bunting at Palace

Former winner Raymond van Barneveld is through to the last-16 at the World Darts Championship after beating Stephen Bunting 4-3 in an absolutely enthralling Alexandra Palace encounter.

Bunting hit 15 maximums in a brilliant display but still could not see off Van Barneveld, who eventually hit double-top to win in extra legs, having taken out five ton-plus checkouts in the match.

After Bunting won the first set, Van Barneveld romped through the second 3-0 to level things up.

Bunting was unfazed though and he reeled off three legs in a row to move into a 2-1 lead, only to be pegged back once again as Van Barneveld took out finishes of 121 and 96.

There was a Raymond van Barneveld masterclass at Ally Pally as he hit five hundred-plus checkouts in his 4-3 victory over Stephen Bunting

There was a Raymond van Barneveld masterclass at Ally Pally as he hit five hundred-plus checkouts in his 4-3 victory over Stephen Bunting

The pair had served up a classic in last year's quarter-finals and they were at it again in set five, which Van Barneveld won when he produced a brilliant 12-dart leg to win the decider.

Bunting easily took set six to make it 3-3 however and a thrilling final set then played out, with Van Barneveld hitting a massive 71 checkout under huge pressure at one point.

The set reached 2-2 and, after narrowly holding throw, Van Barneveld clinched victory when Bunting finally faltered in the sixth leg of a tremendous final set.

The pair sportingly embraced at the end of what will unquestionably go down as one of the best darts matches of the year.

Van Barneveld said: "I'm the lucky one tonight, I think Stephen should have won.

"I was so tired, maybe this belly is still full from Christmas. I tried to keep on going. He played well but I could have played a lot better than this and I'm lucky."

Bunting was gracious in defeat and added: "It was a fantastic game again, we always have really good games, and now I hope he goes all the way and goes on to win it."

Van Barneveld will play his countryman Michael van Gerwen in the next round, after the world No 1 rocked his way to straight sets victory over Darren Webster in the final game of the night.

Van Gerwen averaged 109.23 - the fourth highest in World Championship history - hit four ton-plus checkouts and six maximums to book his spot in round three in just 17 minutes.

Things were also straightforward for James Wade on night nine of the tournament as he eased past Wes Newton in straight sets.

The Machine has been tipped for a shot at the title this year under the mentorship of darts great Eric Bristow and the Aldershot thrower made light work of an out-of-sorts Newton, who averaged just 84.89 to Wade's 92.84, only managing 12 ton plus scores to Wade's 21.

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